The 1903 World Series was the first modern World Series to be played in Major League Baseball. It matched the American League (AL) champion Boston Americans against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates[note 1] in a best-of-nine series, with Boston prevailing five games to three, winning the last four.
Pittsburgh pitcher Sam Leever injured his shoulder while trap-shooting, so his teammate Deacon Phillippe pitched five complete games. Phillippe won three of his games, but it was not enough to overcome the club from the new American League. Boston pitchers Bill Dinneen and Cy Young led Boston to victory. In Game 1, Phillippe struck out ten Boston batters. The next day, Dinneen bettered that mark, striking out eleven Pittsburgh batters in Game 2.
Honus Wagner, bothered by injuries, batted only 6 for 27 (.222) in the Series and committed six errors. The shortstop was deeply distraught by his performance. The following spring, Wagner (who in 1903 led the league in batting average) refused to send his portrait to a "Hall of Fame" for batting champions. "I was too bum last year", he wrote. "I was a joke in that Boston-Pittsburgh Series. What does it profit a man to hammer along and make a few hits when they are not needed only to fall down when it comes to a pinch? I would be ashamed to have my picture up now."(p138)
Due to overflow crowds at the Exposition Park games in Allegheny City,[note 2] if a batted ball rolled under a rope in the outfield that held spectators back, a "ground-rule triple" would be scored. Seventeen ground-rule triples were hit in the four games played at the stadium.
In the series, Boston came back from a three games to one deficit, winning the final four games to capture the title. Such a large comeback would not happen again until the Pirates came back to defeat the Washington Senators in the 1925 World Series, and has happened only eleven times in baseball history. (The Pirates themselves repeated this feat in 1979 against the Baltimore Orioles.) Much was made of the influence of Boston's "Royal Rooters", who traveled to Exposition Park and sang their theme song "Tessie" to distract the opposing players (especially Wagner). Boston wound up winning three out of four games in Allegheny City.
Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss added his share of the gate receipts to the players' share, so the losing team's players actually finished with a larger individual share than the winning team's.
The Series brought the new American League prestige and proved its best could beat the best of the National League, thus strengthening the demand for future World Series competitions.
|1903 World Series|
An overflow crowd at the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston prior to Game 3
|Umpires||Hank O'Day (NL), Tom Connolly (AL)|
|Hall of Famers||Umpires: Tom Connolly, Hank O'Day |
Americans: Jimmy Collins, Cy Young
Pirates: Fred Clarke, Honus Wagner
In 1901, Ban Johnson, president of the Western League, a minor league organization, formed the American League to take advantage of the National League's 1900 contraction from twelve teams to eight. Johnson and fellow owners raided the National League and signed away many star players, including Cy Young and Jimmy Collins. Johnson had a list of 46 National Leaguers he targeted for the American League; by 1902, all but one had made the jump.(p99) The constant raiding, however, nixed the idea of a championship between the two leagues. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss, whose team ran away with the 1902 National League pennant, was open to a post-season contest and even said he would allow the American League champion to stock its roster with all-stars.(p105) However, Johnson had spoken of putting a team in Pittsburgh and even attempted to raid the Pirates' roster in August 1902, which soured Dreyfuss. At the end of the season, however, the Pirates played a group of American League All-Stars in a four-game exhibition series, winning two games to one, with one tie.(p102)
The leagues finally called a truce in the winter of 1902–03 and formed the National Commission to preside over organized baseball. The following season, the Boston Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates had secured their respective championship pennants by September. That August, Dreyfuss challenged the American League to an eleven-game championship series. Encouraged by Johnson and National League President Harry Pulliam, Americans owner Henry J. Killilea met with Dreyfuss in Pittsburgh in September and instead agreed to a best-of-nine championship, with the first three games played in Boston, the next four in Allegheny City, and the remaining two (if necessary) in Boston.(p122)
One significant point about this agreement was that it was an arrangement primarily between the two clubs rather than a formal arrangement between the leagues. In short, it was a voluntary event, a fact which would result in no Series at all for 1904. The formal establishment of the Series as a compulsory event started in 1905.
The Pirates won their third straight pennant in 1903 thanks to a powerful line-up that included legendary shortstop Honus Wagner, who hit .355 and drove in 101 runs, player-manager Fred Clarke, who hit .351, and Ginger Beaumont, who hit .341 and led the league in hits and runs. The Pirates' pitching was weaker than it had been in previous years but boasted 24-game winner Deacon Phillippe and 25-game winner Sam Leever.(pp119, 123)
The Americans had a strong pitching staff, led by Cy Young, who went 28–9 in 1903 and became the all-time wins leader that year. Bill Dinneen and Long Tom Hughes, right-handers like Young, had won 21 games and 20 games each. The Boston outfield, featuring Chick Stahl (.274), Buck Freeman (.287, 104 RBIs) and Patsy Dougherty (.331, 101 runs scored) was considered excellent.(p124)
Although the Pirates had dominated their league for the previous three years, they went into the series riddled with injuries and plagued by bizarre misfortunes. Otto Krueger, the team's only utility player, was beaned on September 19 and never fully played in the series. 16-game winner Ed Doheny left the team three days later, exhibiting signs of paranoia; he was committed to an insane asylum the following month.(p122) Leever had been battling an injury to his pitching arm (which he made worse by entering a trapshooting competition). Worst of all, Wagner, who had a sore thumb throughout the season, injured his right leg in September and was never 100 percent for the post-season.(pp122–123)
Some sources say Boston were heavy underdogs. Boston bookies actually gave even odds to the teams (and only because Dreyfuss and other "sports" were alleged to have bet on Pittsburgh to bring down the odds).(p124) The teams were generally thought to be evenly matched, with the Americans credited with stronger pitching and the Pirates with superior offense and fielding. The outcome, many believed, hinged on Wagner's health. "If Wagner does not play, bet your money at two to one on Boston", said the Sporting News, "but if he does play, place your money at two to one on Pittsburg."(quoted in p. 124)
|1||October 1||Pittsburgh Pirates – 7, Boston Americans – 3||Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds||1:55||16,242|
|2||October 2||Pittsburgh Pirates – 0, Boston Americans – 3||Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds||1:47||9,415|
|3||October 3||Pittsburgh Pirates – 4, Boston Americans – 2||Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds||1:50||18,801|
|4||October 6||Boston Americans – 4, Pittsburgh Pirates – 5||Exposition Park (III)||1:30||7,600|
|5||October 7||Boston Americans – 11, Pittsburgh Pirates – 2||Exposition Park (III)||2:00||12,322|
|6||October 8||Boston Americans – 6, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3||Exposition Park (III)||2:02||11,556|
|7||October 10||Boston Americans – 7, Pittsburgh Pirates – 3||Exposition Park (III)||1:45||17,038|
|8||October 13||Pittsburgh Pirates – 0, Boston Americans – 3||Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds||1:35||7,455|
The Pirates started Game 1 strong, scoring six runs in the first four innings, and held on to win the first World Series game in baseball history. They extended their lead to 7–0 on a home run by Jimmy Sebring in the seventh, the first home run in World Series history. Boston tried to mount a comeback in the last three innings, but it was too little too late, and they ended up losing by a score of 7–3 in the first ever World Series game. Both Phillippe and Young threw complete games, with Phillippe striking out ten and Young fanning five, but Young also gave up twice as many hits and allowed three earned runs to Phillippe's two.
|WP: Deacon Phillippe (1–0) LP: Cy Young (0–1)|
PIT: Jimmy Sebring (1)
After starting out strong in Game 1, the Pirates simply shut down offensively, eking out a mere three hits, all singles. Pittsburgh starter Sam Leever went 1 inning and gave up three hits and two runs, before his ailing arm forced him to leave in favor of Bucky Veil, who finished the game. Bill Dinneen struck out eleven and pitched a complete game for the Americans, while Patsy Dougherty hit home runs in the first and sixth innings for two of the Boston's three runs. The Americans' Patsy Dougherty led off the Boston scoring with an inside-the-park home run, the first time a leadoff batter did just that until Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals duplicated the feat in the 2015 World Series, 112 years later. Dougherty's second home run was the first in World Series history to actually sail over the fence, an incredibly rare feat at the time.
|WP: Bill Dinneen (1–0) LP: Sam Leever (0–1)|
BOS: Patsy Dougherty 2 (2)
Phillippe, pitching after only a single day of rest, started Game 3 for the Pirates and didn't let them down, hurling his second complete game victory of the Series to put Pittsburgh up two games to one.
|WP: Deacon Phillippe (2–0) LP: Tom Hughes (0–1)|
After two days of rest, Phillippe was ready to pitch a second straight game. He threw his third complete game victory of the series against Bill Dinneen, who was making his second start of the series. But Phillippe's second straight win was almost not to be, as the Americans, down 5–1 in the top of the ninth, rallied to narrow the deficit to one run. The comeback attempt failed, as Phillippe managed to put an end to it and give the Pirates a commanding 3–1 Series lead.
|WP: Deacon Phillippe (3–0) LP: Bill Dinneen (1–1)|
Game 5 was a pitcher's duel for the first five innings, with Boston's Cy Young and Pittsburgh's Brickyard Kennedy giving up no runs. That changed in the top of the sixth, however, when the Americans scored a then-record six runs before being retired. Young, on the other hand, managed to keep his shutout intact before finally giving up a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. He went the distance and struck out four for his first World Series win.
|WP: Cy Young (1–1) LP: Brickyard Kennedy (0–1)|
Game 6 was a rematch between the starters of Game 2, Boston's Dinneen and Pittsburgh's Leever. Leever pitched a complete game this time but so did Dinneen, who outmatched him to earn his second complete game victory of the series. After losing three of the first four games of the World Series, the underdog Americans had tied the series at three games apiece.
|WP: Bill Dinneen (2–1) LP: Sam Leever (0–2)|
The fourth and final game in Allegheny saw Phillippe start his fourth game of the Series for the Pirates. This time, however, he wouldn't fare as well as he did in his first three starts. Cy Young, in his third start of the Series, held the Pirates to three runs and put the Americans ahead for the first time as the Series moved back to Boston.
|WP: Cy Young (2–1) LP: Deacon Phillippe (3–1)|
The final game of this inaugural World Series started out as an intense pitcher's duel, scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Hobe Ferris hit a two-run single. Phillippe started his fifth and final game of the series and Dinneen his fourth. As he did in Game 2, Dinneen threw a complete game shutout, striking out seven and leading his Americans to victory, while Phillippe pitched respectably but just couldn't match Dinneen because his arm had been worn out with five starts in the eight games, giving up three runs to give the first 20th-century World Championship to the Boston Americans, Honus Wagner striking out to end the Series.
|WP: Bill Dinneen (3–1) LP: Deacon Phillippe (3–2)|
|Total attendance: 100,429 Average attendance: 12,554|
Winning player's share: $1,182 Losing player's share: $1,316
Note: GP=Games played; AB=At Bats; H=Hits; Avg.=Batting Average; HR=Home Runs; RBI=Runs Batted In
|Long Tom Hughes||1||0||0||.000||0||0|
Note: G=Games played; GS=Games started; ERA=Earned run average; W=Wins; L=Losses; IP=Innings pitched; H=Hits; R=Runs; ER= Earned runs; BB=Walks; SO= Strikeouts
Note: GP=Games played; AB=At Bats; H=Hits; Avg.=Batting Average; HR=Home Runs; RBI=Runs Batted In
Note: G=Games played; GS=Games started; ERA=Earned run average; W=Wins; L=Losses; IP=Innings pitched; H=Hits; R=Runs; ER= Earned runs; BB=Walks; SO= Strikeouts
In baseball, the 1884 World Series was a post-season championship series between the Providence Grays of the National League and the New York Metropolitans of the American Association at the Polo Grounds in New York City.
While the 1884 post-season championship series was the first such to be referred to as the "World's Series," Major League Baseball considers the 1903 World Series the first.1903 Boston Americans season
The 1903 Boston Americans season was the third season for the professional baseball franchise that later became known as the Boston Red Sox. The Americans finished first in the American League (AL) with a record of 91 wins and 47 losses, 14 1⁄2 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. Boston went on to participate in the first World Series held between the AL and National League (NL) champions. The Americans won the 1903 World Series in eight games over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team was managed by Jimmy Collins and played their home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.1903 Franklin Athletic Club season
The 1903 Franklin Athletic Club football season was their third and final season in existence. The team finished with a record of 12-0. The team was named the top football team in the United States. Franklin went on to win the 1903 World Series of Football, held in December, at Madison Square Garden and did not give up a score all season.1903 Pittsburgh Pirates season
The 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 22nd year the Pittsburgh Pirates played in Major League Baseball. The club finished their season as National League champions, beating the second-place New York Giants by 6½ games. They went on to participate in the 1903 World Series, the first to be played between the champions of the National League and American League. The Pirates started off well, winning 3 of the first four games, but the Boston Americans won the last four straight to win the series five games to three. The Pirates set a record of 52 consecutive innings without allowing the opposing team to score a run, a record that still stands today.1904 World Series
In 1904, there was no World Series played between the champions of the two major leagues, the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The champions were the Boston Americans (now the Boston Red Sox), who repeated their 1903 AL championship, and the NL's New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants).Arthur McFarland
Arthur Lamont "Tiger" McFarland (July 7, 1874 – August 21, 1959) was an early professional American football player who played with the Greensburg Athletic Association as well as the Latrobe Athletic Association. He later played for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1902 version of the National Football League and for the 1903 US Football Champions, the Franklin Athletic Club. Sweet also won, with Franklin, the 1903 World Series of Football, held that December at Madison Square Garden.
At the same time McFarland was enjoying his professional career, he also played at the college level. While McFarland played professional football for Greensburg and Latrobe, he still claimed his amateur status by playing for the Washington & Jefferson Presidents. After playing two seasons for the Presidents, McFarland played his last two seasons for West Virginia Mountaineers.
For 1906 to 1908, McFarland was the coach of the Ohio Bobcats. He posted a 14-10-1 record over a three span. He died at hospital in Martins Ferry, Ohio in 1959.Clark Schrontz
Clark A. Schrontz was a professional American football player. In 1902 he won a championship in the first National Football League with the Pittsburgh Stars. A year later he was a member of the Franklin Athletic Club football team that was considered the "best in the world". He also won the 1903 World Series of Football, held at Madison Square Garden, with the Franklin Athletic Club.Schrontz then spent the next several seasons with the Massillon Tigers of the Ohio League. In 1905 the Tigers promoted him to the position of "field captain". In 1906, he was convinced by Blondy Wallace, coach of the Canton Bulldogs to join the Bulldogs. That season Canton played Massillon in a two game home-and-home series to determine the 1906 Ohio League championship. While Canton won the first game of the series, Massillon won the second game (and under rules determined by both team) the championship. Canton was later accused of throwing the championship in a betting scandal.Prior to his professional career Clark played three years at end while attending Washington and Jefferson College. He had a reputation as being one of the fastest men to get down the field during a punt. The football team adopted a poodle as their mascot, naming it "Schrontzie" in Clark's honor.Ed Phelps
Edward Jaykill Phelps (March 3, 1879 – January 31, 1942) was an American professional baseball catcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1902–04, 1906–08), Cincinnati Reds (1905–06), St. Louis Cardinals (1909–1910), and Brooklyn Dodgers (1912–13).
He helped the Pirates win the 1902 and 1903 National League Pennants and played in the 1903 World Series.
In 11 seasons he played in 633 Games and had 1,832 At Bats, 186 Runs, 460 Hits, 45 Doubles, 20 Triples, 3 Home Runs, 205 RBI, 31 Stolen Bases, 163 Walks, .251 Batting Average, .325 On-base percentage, .302 Slugging Percentage, 554 Total Bases and 60 Sacrifice Hits.
He died in East Greenbush, New York at the age of 62.Franklin Athletic Club
The Franklin Athletic Club was an early professional football team based in Franklin, Pennsylvania. It was considered the top team in professional football in 1903, by becoming the US Football Champions and winning the 1903 World Series of Football, held after the 1903 season, at New York's Madison Square Garden. The team was also the rivals to the nearby Oil City Athletic Club.Freddy Parent
Frederick Alfred Parent (November 25, 1875 – November 2, 1972) was a professional baseball player. He played all or part of eleven seasons in Major League Baseball, between 1899 and 1911, for the St. Louis Perfectos (1899), Boston Americans (1901–07) and Chicago White Sox (1908–11), primarily as a shortstop. Parent batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Biddeford, Maine.
Listed at 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), 154 lb., Parent was known primarily for his fielding skills, but he also was a solid hitter and an intelligent baserunner. Twice he hit .300, including a career-high .306 in 1901, and led the American League in at bats in 1902. He broke up three no-hit bids, as he got his club's only hits in these games. At shortstop, his fine defensive plays saved four no-hitters, including Cy Young's perfect game. He also was a member of the Boston team who clinched in 1903 the first World Championship in major league history.
In a 12-season career, Parent was a .262 hitter (1306-for-4984) with 20 home runs and 471 RBI in 1327 games, including 180 doubles, 74 triples, 633 runs and 184 stolen bases. In eight WS games, he hit .281 (9-32) with eight runs and four RBI.
In the fall of 1960, Parent appeared on the television program I've Got A Secret alongside Pittsburgh Pirate Tommy Leach, as a commemoration of participating in the first World Series in 1903.
Parent died in Sanford, Maine, at the age of 96. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving participant of the inaugural 1903 World Series.Hawley Pierce
Hawley Pierce was an early professional football player for the Philadelphia Athletics of the first National Football League and later for the Syracuse Athletic Club during the 1902 and 1903 World Series of Football. In 1901, he began his professional career playing on the 1901 Homestead Library & Athletic Club football team. Prior to his professional career, Pierce, a Seneca Native American, played for the Carlisle Indian School, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was the brother of college and professional football's Bemus Pierce.Jack Lang (American football)
John "Jack" Lang was a professional American football player. In 1902 he won a championship in the first National Football League with the Pittsburgh Stars. A year later he was a member of the Franklin Athletic Club football team that was considered the "best in the world". He also won the 1903 World Series of Football, held at Madison Square Garden, with the Franklin Athletic Club.
Lang then spent the 1904 and 1905 seasons with the Massillon Tigers of the Ohio League. In 1906, he was convinced by Blondy Wallace, coach of the Canton Bulldogs to join the Bulldogs. He jumped from the Tigers to the Bulldogs along with Jack Hayden, Herman Kerchoff, and Clark Schrontz. That season Canton played Massillon in a two game home-and-home series to determine the 1906 Ohio League championship. While Canton won the first game of the series, Massillon won the second game (and under rules determined by both team) the championship. Canton was later accused of throwing the championship in a betting scandal.
Prior to his professional career Jack played three years at tackle while attending Washington and Jefferson College.
Lang also coached the 1905 Westminster College team of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, leading the team to a 9–2 record.Jimmy Collins
James Joseph Collins (January 16, 1870 – March 6, 1943) was an American professional baseball player. He played fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball. Collins was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
Collins was especially regarded for his defense. He was best known for his ability to field a bunt—prior to his debut, it was the shortstop who fielded bunts down the third base line—and is regarded as a pioneer of the modern defensive play of a third baseman. As of 2012, he is second all-time in putouts by a third baseman behind Brooks Robinson. At the plate, Collins finished his career with 65 home runs, 1055 runs scored, 983 RBI and a .294 batting average.
Collins was also the first manager of the Boston Red Sox franchise, then known as the Boston Americans. He was the winning manager in the first-ever World Series, as Boston defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1903 World Series, five games to three.Jimmy Sebring
James Dennison Sebring (March 22, 1882, Liberty, Pennsylvania – December 22, 1909, Williamsport, Pennsylvania), was a professional baseball player who played outfield from 1902 to 1909. He attended college at Bucknell University. He played in the 1903 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was the first player in World Series history to hit a home run. He died of Bright's disease in 1909.Knickerbocker Athletic Club football team
The Knickerbocker Athletic Club was an early amateur and later professional football team based in Manhattan, New York City from around 1897 until 1902. The team is best known for participating in the 1902 World Series of Football. During the event, the Knickerbockers defeated the Warslow Athletic Club from Long Island by a score of 11-6. However, the Knickerbockers were defeated by the Syracuse Athletic Club, 36-0, on New Year's Eve. During the 1903 World Series of Football, the Olympic Athletic Club defeated Knickerbockers 6-0, on December 14, 1903.New York Olympic Athletic Club football team
The New York Olympic Athletic Club football team was an early semi-professional football team based in New York City. The team was founded by club owner, Roderick McMahon and is best remembered for playing in the 1903 World Series of Football. During the series, the Olympic A.C. defeated the Knickerbocker Athletic Club by a hard-fought score of 6-0 at Madison Square Garden.Patsy Dougherty
Patrick Henry "Patsy" Dougherty (October 27, 1876 – April 30, 1940) was a Major League Baseball outfielder from 1902 to 1911. He played for the Boston Americans (now the Boston Red Sox), the New York Highlanders (now the New York Yankees), and the Chicago White Sox.
On July 29, 1903, Dougherty became the second Red Sox player (then known as the Americans) to hit for the cycle. In Game 2 of the 1903 World Series, the first modern World Series, Dougherty became the first player to accomplish several feats; he became the first Boston player to hit a World Series home run, the first player to hit two home runs in a single World Series game, and the first player to hit a leadoff inside-the-park home run in a World Series game (a feat not matched until the 2015 World Series, by Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals in Game 1).
Dougherty died in Bolivar, New York, at the age of 63 and was buried at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Bolivar.South End Grounds
South End Grounds refers to any one of three baseball parks on one site in Boston, Massachusetts. They were home to the franchise that eventually became known as the Boston Braves, first in the National Association and later in the National League, from 1871 to 1914.
At least in its third edition, the formal name of the park -- as indicated by the sign over its entrance gate -- was Boston National League Base Ball Park. It was located on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Walpole Street (now Saint Cyprian's Place), just southwest of Carter Playground. Accordingly, it was also known over the years as Walpole Street Grounds; two other names were Union Base-ball Grounds and Boston Baseball Grounds.
The ballpark was across the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad tracks, to the south, from the eventual site of the Huntington Avenue Grounds, home to the Boston American League entry prior to the building of Fenway Park.
The Boston club was initially known as the "Red Stockings," because four of its key players had come from the famous 1869–1870 barnstorming team known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings and took the nickname with them to Boston. Over time the team acquired other informal nicknames, such as "Beaneaters," "Red Caps," "Rustlers" and "Doves." This team eventually adopted the official nickname "Braves," just a few years before abandoning South End Grounds.
With its tight foul lines and expansive center field, like a scaled-down version of the Polo Grounds, it was sometimes said that the South End had no right or left field, only a center field.
South End Grounds was rebuilt twice during its lifetime, the first time by choice and the second time by necessity.Tommy Leach
Thomas Andrew Leach (November 4, 1877 – September 29, 1969) was a professional baseball outfielder and third baseman. He played in Major League Baseball from 1898 through 1918 for the Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.
Leach played in the first modern World Series in 1903 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, hitting four triples to set a record that still stands. He played alongside legendary ballplayers such as Honus Wagner, Dummy Hoy, Three Finger Brown, Frank Chance, Heinie Groh, Max Carey, Casey Stengel and Rube Waddell. Leach played professionally for the Louisville Colonels, Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds for nineteen seasons. Leach began his career primarily as an infielder including playing shortstop, second base and, mostly, third base. Later, to take advantage of his speed, Leach played mostly outfield. Leach is also famous for having interviewed for Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Times collection.